Archives for July 2015

Welcome Christopher Watras, DO, to our community

Christopher Watras, DO

Christopher Watras, DO

Christopher Watras, DO, joined the Winona Health medical staff and will provide emergency care for patients of all ages in the Emergency department at Winona Health.

Dr. Watras earned his degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine. He completed his residency at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.

When asked why he chose Winona Health, Dr. Watras said “Word of mouth. I heard about Winona Health from residency colleagues who chose Winona Health. They said what a wonderful place this is to raise a family and that it’s a great healthcare system. I visited and interviewed and found it to be very welcoming. I also like that Winona Health is forward thinking and interested in new ideas from staff.”

Dr. Watras said the best part of his work is being able to make a difference in peoples’ lives. “When they have an immediate problem, I like to help them figure out what’s going on, relieve their pain and be there to help them in their moment of need.”

If there is just one health-related message Dr. Watras would like to share with community members, it’s “Always think safety first: NEVER text and drive, always wear your seatbelt and have your kids properly fitted in their car seats. In the Emergency Department, I see first-hand the difference these things can make.”

Prior to joining Winona Health, Dr. Watras was Medical Command Physician with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a flight physician with Geisinger LifeFlight Program in Danville, Pa. He is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association.

Dr. Watras enjoys being a husband and father, watching sports, camping, hiking and biking and brewing beer. He and his wife have a three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter.

For information about healthcare providers at Winona Health, click here.

For more information about the Emergency Department, click here.

Free Health Talk: Trust Your Tummy


Anne Marie Olsen Wagner

Community members are invited to a free Health Talk: Trust Your Tummy, Thursday, August 20 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the B. A. Miller Auditorium at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Avenue in Winona.

Everyone experiences digestive distress at some point, often brought on by the foods we eat or by stress. Learn what your tummy may be telling you and who to ask for help when you’re experiencing tummy trouble or digestive distress. You’ll get tips that may help prevent or alleviate some types of digestive distress along with information about when a symptom is a red flag that requires further follow-up.

“Many people struggle with stomach and digestive issues and, in some cases, this limits their activity and enjoyment of life,” says Anne Marie Olsen Wagner, a certified nurse practitioner at Winona Health. “Whether stomach issues are occasional or frequent, this presentation will provide information that could be helpful to you.”

This free Health Talk is part of Winona Health’s Spirit of Women programming and is open to men and women of all ages.

RSVP is requested by Tuesday, August 18. To RSVP for this Health Talk or to learn more about Spirit of Women at Winona Health including the many free benefits, click below or call 507.457.4161.

RSVPLearn about Spirit



Welcome Andrew Stowell, PA-C, to Behavioral Health team

Andrew Stowell, PA-C

Andrew Stowell, PA-C

Andrew Stowell, PA-C, joined the Winona Health Behavioral Health team and will work with individuals in both Winona Health’s inpatient and outpatient Psychiatric & Counseling Services. Stowell will focus on adult psychiatry.

Stowell said he chose Winona Health because “I like how Winona Health is very active out in the community. When I interviewed, it was clear that people are sincere and they are committed to doing things right.” He added, “This area reminds me of where I grew up in Seneca Falls, New York. When you add the mighty Mississippi along with the bluffs, the views are amazing.”

Stowell received his master’s in Physician Assistant Studies from Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. He said, “Being a physician assistant combines my interest in the medical field with my interest in people. When people come to see me, they are sometimes at their wit’s end emotionally. It’s rewarding to figure out how to make a meaningful change and help them get back to feeling better.”

Prior to joining Winona Health, Stowell treated patients on an inpatient unit including intensive psychiatric care, provided outpatient care and cared for patients at an addiction treatment center.

In his free time, Stowell enjoys being outdoors and going for walks with his family. He and his wife have four young children.

To schedule an appointment, call Winona Health’s Psychiatric & Counseling Services at 507.454.2606.


for more information about Psychiatric  & Counseling Services, click here.


Welcome Jennifer Forsyth, DO!

Jennifer Forsyth, DO

Jennifer Forsyth, DO

Jennifer Forsyth, DO, begins healthcare career at Winona Health as a certified nursing assistant in 2005 and returns as a physician in 2015

Jennifer Forsyth, DO, joined the Winona Health Medical Staff and will see patients of all ages in the Family Medicine department beginning in August.

Dr. Forsyth (y pronounced like long i) began her healthcare career at Winona Health as an orderly and certified nursing assistant (CNA) in 2005 while completing her undergraduate degree at Winona State University. She is excited to be back in Winona. “I chose to come back to Winona Health because I feel very relaxed and comfortable here. There is a sense of ‘home’ when driving in.”

Being a family physician is a natural fit for Dr. Forsyth. “I’m interested in the complexity of human biology, and I am happiest when I’m relating to people and helping them. The best part of my work is meeting and getting to know somebody. My patients would say that I’m a good listener—they feel comfortable talking to me, like we’re on the same level and that I’m very down to earth.”

Dr. Forsyth earned her degree at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City. Mo., and completed a Fellowship in Geriatrics at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Kansas City. She also earned a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Leadership from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo. She received her Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology with a Biochemistry minor from Winona State University. While completing her undergraduate degree at WSU, in addition to caring for patients as a certified nursing assistant at Winona Health, she was a research assistant at WSU studying the prevalence of Lyme disease in deer ticks along the Mississippi River.

Dr. Forsyth also has been an active volunteer, devoting time to the Down Syndrome Guild of Kansas City, Women’s Resource Center, and Score One for Health, a nonprofit organization that administers free health screenings to children living in Kansas City’s urban core.

Dr. Forsyth is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Geriatric Society. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, softball, baseball, watching sports, reading and music. “I played euphonium in a brass band,” she noted.

To make an appointment with Dr. Forsyth, or another Family Medicine healthcare provider, please call Winona Health Family Medicine: 507.457.7648.



Retirement open house for William Davis, MD

William Davis, MD

William Davis, MD

William Davis, MD, retiring after award-winning medical career

William Davis, MD, a Family Medicine physician at Winona Health, will retire on August 1, after caring for the Winona community for more than three decades.

To honor Dr. Davis’s years of service and to celebrate his retirement, Winona Health invites community members to a retirement open house Sunday, August 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. on the clinic first floor at Winona Health, 859 Mankato Avenue in Winona.

Dr. Davis was instrumental in developing an advanced electronic medical record system to improve patient care, quality and safety. He was one of the pioneers in exploring how electronic records could make access to crucial patient health information easily and immediately accessible at the point of care.

Due in large part to his dedication to healthcare improvement, his knowledge as a physician and his continuous work in the field of information technology, Dr. Davis was Winona Health’s first Chief Medical Information Officer. In addition to caring for patients, he devoted countless hours to working with staff to develop the electronic infrastructure required for safer, higher-quality, more efficient care.

“Dr. Davis has had a remarkable career as a family physician and his contributions to Winona Health and the community are vast. He has made a positive impact on Winona Health, the community, the state, and on healthcare information technology,” said Rachelle Schultz, Winona Health president/CEO. “We are deeply grateful for his dedication.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Davis has the distinction of implementing the very first clinic electronic medical record in Minnesota. In addition, he was honored by the Minnesota Medical Association in 2006 with the first “Physician Leadership in Quality Award” for his work with the Electronic medical record. Most recently, Dr. Davis r was honored at the Cerner Physician Conference in Kansas City with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cerner Corporation, a global health information technology company.

Dr. Davis joined Winona Clinic in 1976. In 1978, he took a position as the associate director of the Family Medicine residency program at Franciscan Skemp Medical Center, now Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare La Crosse, and returned to practice in Winona in 1987.

Dr. Davis said he has thoroughly enjoyed Family Practice and the friendships he’s developed with his colleagues over the years. And now he is looking forward to many activities he hasn’t had time for over the past years.

Asked how he’ll spend his new-found free time, Dr. Davis said, “I used to play guitar and banjo, and I’m looking forward to taking those up again. I have a stack of books I’ve accumulated over the years, so I’m looking forward to getting to those—and I used to be able to read Greek. I may even try to pick that up again.” Dr. Davis also used to be active in amateur “ham” radio and said he may dust off his equipment and try to reach out to distant places. “After I do all that,” he said smiling, “I may have to think about what I’ll do next.”

In appreciation of Dr. Davis’s years of service, Winona Heath has made a gift to the Winona Health Foundation in his honor.

Those wishing to send a retirement message to Dr. Davis via email may do so through the Winona Health website: Click here.

Scholarships assist high school graduates pursuing healthcare careers

Through the generosity of anonymous donors, Winona Health offers several $1,000 scholarships, renewable up to three additional years, to qualified high school graduates who are seeking a healthcare-related career.

“This year, the scholarship committee chose thirteen students based on a review of their healthcare career goals, academic excellence and community service experience,” said Betsy Midthun, vice president of Community Engagement.

Scholarship recipients must be enrolled in a course of study at an accredited academic institution that prepares them for healthcare career. Recipients are eligible to have their scholarship renewed up to three additional years if specific criteria are met.

The recipients and career pursuits are:

Cochrane-Fountain City High School

  • Andy Alleman, Saint Mary’s University, Physical Therapy
  • Jill Hiebert, University of Minnesota – Mankato, Nursing
  • Carley Hilt, Edgewood College, Child Life
  • Tylor Jilk, Stanford University, Pre-medicine

Cotter High School

  • Jennifer Beranek, Creighton University, Anesthesiology
  • Calli Marg, St. Catherine’s University, Occupational Therapy
  • Bryanna Meier, Winona State University, Nursing
  • Alex Strelow, Winona State University, Nursing

Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School

  • Megan Hoppe, Winona State University, Nursing
  • Julia Oanes, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Nursing

Winona Senior High School

  • Kaytee Johns, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Psychology
  • Michael Lubahn, Clarke University, Physical Therapy
  • Elaina Smith, Winona State University, Psychology

Click here for photos.

For more information about the Winona Health Foundation and scholarship opportunities, click here or call 507.457.4116.


Pillow Cleaning Fundraiser

The Lake Winona Manor Resident Council is sponsoring its annual Pillow Cleaning Service Thursday, July 16; from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Proceeds from this fundraiser are used by the Lake Winona Manor Resident Council.

Kraft Pillow Services’ mobile unit will be at Lake Winona Manor to clean and renovate your pillows, including replacing the ticking, so they’ll look and feel like new again.

Drop off pillows at the lakeside entrance to Lake Winona Manor, 865 Mankato Avenue, on the Winona Health campus, between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, and your pillows will be renovated and back on your bed the same day.

Prices for cleaning and new ticking:

  • 200 thread count ticking: standard $12, queen $14, king $15.
  • 240 thread count ticking: standard $13, queen $16, king $17

All types of pillows can be cleaned including foam, Dacron and feather pillows. The service includes removing, disinfecting and deodorizing the pillow’s stuffing and placing it into new ticking. You also can have feather beds made into pillows.

For more information about the pillow cleaning service, contact Kraft Pillow Service at 712.378.2918.

Mark Midthun, MD, joins Winona Health

Mark Midthun, MD

Mark Midthun, MD

Board certified psychiatrist, Mark Midthun, MD, joined the Winona Health Behavioral Health team and will work with individuals in Winona Health’s outpatient Psychiatric & Counseling Services. Dr. Midthun’s expertise is in adult psychiatry.

Dr. Midthun (pronounced MID-Tune), said he chose Winona Health because, “I have confidence in the behavioral health team and the administration at Winona Health. I’m impressed by what I’ve heard and observed.”

Dr. Midthun earned his medical degree at the University of Iowa School of Medicine in Iowa City, Iowa. He completed his residency at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of South Dakota Affiliated Hospitals in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

In his free time, Dr. Midthun enjoys music and computer programming. Dr. Midthun also has a Master of Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Midthun, please call Winona Health Psychiatric & Counseling Services directly at 507.454.2606.

For information about healthcare providers at Winona Health click here.                        



Free Health Workshop: Living Well with Chronic Conditions

Winona Health is offering a free six-week Health Workshop: Living Well with Chronic Conditions.

The workshop will be 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Thursdays from September 10 to October 15at Winona Health Sarnia Square, 420 E. Sarnia St. in Winona.

This self-management workshop is for individuals with any chronic condition including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, depression, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, chronic pain or other physical and mental health conditions.

During the six-week workshop, participants will develop action plans to help with pain control, healthy eating, healthy activities and ways to communicate with family, friends and health care providers.

There is no charge for the workshop, but participants have the option of purchasing the manual for $20.

Although the class is free, class size is limited. To register, call 507.453.3741 or register online here.



Assisted Living residences host family gatherings

Residents and families gather for dinner and entertainment during Senior Living at Watkins’ annual family picnic.

Residents and families gather for dinner and entertainment during Senior Living at Watkins’ annual family picnic.

Residents of Winona Health’s assisted living communities recently welcomed family to their annual summer picnics

Senior Living at Watkins celebrated with close to 200 in attendance. Karaoke, The Winona Clown Club, and a picnic style dinner were some of the many things enjoyed by residents and family. 

Adith Miller Manor and Roger Metz Manor memory care communities had close to 90 guests who enjoyed a picnic style

Residents and families enjoy a picnic and entertainment in the courtyard at Adith Miller and Roger Metz manors.

Residents and families enjoy a picnic and entertainment in the courtyard at Adith Miller and Roger Metz manors.

dinner outside in their courtyard with musical entertainment by Ron Haugen.


More information about Winona Health senior living options, click here; click on Services then Senior Services.